Arrested For Stealing Cooking Grease From McDonalds?
Two men suspected of stealing grease from a Hemet McDonald’s were arrested Friday morning, Dec. 28, after a stakeout by the restaurant owner, police said.
The owner told police that thieves have been targeting restaurants and stealing thousands of dollars worth of cooking grease, which they sell to recyclers. Restaurant grease can be refined into biodiesel fuel, which has sent prices skyrocketing.
The owner of the McDonald’s in the 2300 block of West Florida Avenue called police around midnight to say he would be inside his closed business waiting for suspects who have been stealing grease, according to a news release from the Hemet Police Department.
About 1:50 a.m. the owner called and said the suspects were at the restaurant stealing grease.
Police arrived and found two men, Noel Portillo, 22, of Compton, and Ricardo Robles, 24, of Long Beach, inside a Dodge Ram dually pickup with the engine running, police said. The truck contained a large metal tank mounted in the bed.
After reviewing surveillance tapes, the men were arrested and the truck impounded, police said.
According to the restaurant owner, the same suspects have stolen grease from his restaurant on at least two other occasions, police said.
Grease thefts have sprouted around the country and restaurant and law enforcement agencies have been trying to stop them.
In North Carolina, grease thieves could face felony charges under a law that goes into effect New Year’s Day.
Cooking grease can be sold for 30 to 40 cents per pound, versus 25 cents per pound in 2010, according to an article published in USA Today in March.